On a spectrum of focus capability of 1 to 10, 1 being a caffeinated child and 10 being a caffeinated law student, I am probably a 4 on the dullest scientific papers to a 9 when working on Prezi. I think I have the focus capabilities of a normal college student. I have always subscribed to the 50 minutes on, 10 minutes off studying routine. On an uninterrupted afternoon, this method with provide three hours of focused work in before fatigue sets in. Nonetheless, there are nights that demand even more hours of focus to study or write a paper and sometimes deadline anxiety isn’t enough to maintain focus.
A friend recently introduced me to Simply Noise, a site that provides ambient noise tracks. The three basic ones are white noise, pink noise, and brown noise. It is helpful for light sleepers and people who have Tinnitus, but it also amplifies focus such to allow two plus hours of writing or studying. I tried it out. Like magic, the temptations of email, facebook, and stumbleupon were drowned out by brown noise, for me, the most agreeable track.
I have always read that the ability to focus is a result of mental conditioning and discipline, so listening to white noise and acquiring an artificial focus I thought must side-effects. I looked around google and google scholar and could not find anything substantial. In infants, it can lead to memory and focus problems, but there is no literature on adverse side-effects on adults. However, one of the studies discussed the effects of high levels of caffeine and auditory hallucinations. The study had participants listening to white noise after consuming caffeine. They were told that spliced into the white noise track was the song “White Christmas” and that when they heard the song being played, they were to signal the instructor. “White Christmas” was never put into the track, but many participants signaled that they heard it. So, one possible side-effect of Simply Noise for college students is your mind inserting arbitrary songs into your study session.